The Fantastic Four (band)

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The Fantastic Four
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States.
Genres R&B/pop/soul
Years active 1965–2000
Labels Ric-Tic, Motown, Soul, Westbound
Past members James Epps
Joseph Pruitt
Ernest Newsome
Wallace Childs
Ralph Pruitt
Cleveland Horne

The Fantastic Four (also known as Sweet James and The Fantastic Four) were a Detroit based soul group, formed in 1965. "Sweet" James Epps, brothers Ralph and Joseph Pruitt, and Wallace "Toby" Childs were the original members. Childs and Ralph Pruitt later departed, and were replaced by Cleveland Horne and Ernest Newsome.

Career[edit]

Their first single on Ric-Tic, "The Whole World Is a Stage," was their only big hit single, peaking at number 6 on the US Billboard R&B chart in 1967. The next release, "You Gave Me Something (And Everything's Alright)," reached number 12 that same year. Motown eventually purchased Ric-Tic, and they had another Top 20 R&B hit with "I Love You Madly," which came out in 1968 and was also issued on Soul. Before the Motown takeover, The Fantastic Four were the Ric-Tic label's biggest-selling act, outselling Edwin Starr.[1] Their songs were regularly played on Detroit/Windsor's 50,000 watt powerhouse station, CKLW (The Big 8).

They enjoyed renewed appeal during the disco era, with some singles on Westbound that were moderately successful, among them "Alvin Stone (The Birth & Death of a Gangster)" and "I Got to Have Your Love." Dennis Coffey produced "B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Funk)" in 1979, but they did not have much success with it, although it did become their only entry in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #62 in February 1979.[2]

The Fantastic Four had remained active, and released "Working on a Building of Love" in 1990 for the UK's Motorcity label. In 2000, however, the Fantastic Four lost one of its long-time members, Cleveland Horne when he suffered a heart attack and died on April 13, 2000. The original Fantastic Four lead singer, "Sweet James" Epps, who led on every Fantastic Four hit, also died of a heart attack on September 11, 2000. His death effectively spelled the end of The Fantastic Four.[3][4]

The group's first and only Motown album, Best of The Fantastic Four, was released on CD by Motown in the early 1990s. It was a compilation of the group's Ric-Tic hit singles prior to Motown's takeover of that label, and now is a highly sought-after collectors' item.[5][6]

In November of 2013, Motown Records and Universal Music re- released the highly-sought-after CD "Best of The Fantastic Four", featuring the original tracks, which were remastered for this release.[7]

Original member Ralph Pruitt died on June 3, 2014 of natural causes. He was 74 years old.[8]

Discography[edit]

Selected singles[edit]

  • "Girl Have Pity" / "(I'm Gonna) Live Up to What She Thinks" (1966) (Ric-Tic)
  • "Can't Stop Looking for My Baby" / "Just the Lonely" (1966)
  • "The Whole World is a Stage"/ "Ain't Love Wonderful" (1967)
  • "You Gave Me Something (and Everything's Alright)"/ Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet (I Don't Wanna Live Without You)
  • "As Long as I Live (I Live for You)" / "To Share Your Love"
  • "Goddess of Love" / "As Long as the Feeling is There"
  • "Goddess of Love" / "Love is a Many Splendored Thing"
  • "Man in Love" / "No Love Like Your Love" (1968)
  • "I've Got to Have You" / "Win or Lose (I'm Going to Love You)"
  • "I Love You Madly" / "I Love You Madly (Instrumental)" (Ric-Tic, Soul)
  • "I Feel Like I'm Falling in Love Again" / "Pin Point You Down" (Soul)
  • "Just Another Lonely Night" / "Don't Care Why You Want Me (Long as You Want Me)" (1969)
  • "On the Brighter Side of a Blue World" / "I'm Gonna Carry On"
  • "I Had This Whole World to Choose From (and I Chose You)" / "If You Need Me, Call Me (and I'll Come Running) (1973) (Eastbound)
  • "I'm Falling in Love (I Feel Good All Over)" / "I Believe in Miracles (I Believe in You)"
  • "Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster)" / "I Believe in Miracles (I Believe in You)" (1975) (Westbound)
  • "Better By The Pound" / "Stuffs And Things"
  • "Hideaway" / "They Took the Show on the Road" (1976)
  • "They Took the Show on the Road" / "Don't Risk Your Happiness on Foolishness"
  • "I Got to Have Your Love" / "Ain't I Been Good to You" (1977)
  • "Disco Pool Blues" / "Mixed Up Moods & Attitudes" (1978)
  • "Sexy Lady" / "If This is Love"
  • "B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Funk)" / "If This is Love"
  • "Working on a Building of Love" / "Working on a Building of Love (Motor-Town Dub Mix)" (12-inch) (1990) (Motor City)

Albums[edit]

  • (Best of) The Fantastic Four (Soul/Tamla Motown) (1969)
  • Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) (Westbound/20th Century) (1975), written by co-songwriter, Calvin Colbert
  • Night People (Westbound) (1976)
  • Got to Have Your Love (Westbound) (1977)
  • B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Funk) (Westbound) (1978)
  • Back in Circulation (Motorcity) (1992)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Golden World Story". Soulful Detroit. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 195. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2000". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  5. ^ "Best of the Fantastic Four: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  6. ^ "Best of the Fantastic Four: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Best-Fantastic-Four/dp/B00DY9WXCC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416894080&sr=8-1&keywords=Best+of+The+Fantastic+Four
  8. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club : January - June 2014". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 

External links[edit]